November 30, 2011

"thanks," w.s. merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

November 28, 2011

thanksgiving weekend


gingerbread dough
the template
more house pieces
the parade, obvs
(that's the macy's parade, an absolutely essential part of any thanksgiving morning kitchen activities)
(don't ask about the bottle of lighter fluid on the floor.)

the shingles
two pounds of royal icing
(two pounds -- TWO. POUNDS.-- of royal icing. which later erupted out of the bag and oozed ungracefully down the length of both of my arms before I could contain it.)

mini gingerbread house

the point of the mini gingerbread house
the whole point of five hours of baking.

song time
sing-along. mostly the beatles.

I don't remember taking this photo
I don't remember taking this photo of myself, probably because people kept handing me manhattans?

not pictured: sleep in, watch trashy daytime TV, feel sorry about overeating. lay on chaise. knit.

ride horse. discover horse has developed, because of her two relative beginner riders, obnoxious habit of tossing head in the air to evade work. remind horse that she does not get to have an opinion about work.

read half of the girl with the dragon tattoo.

make crafts, paint nails.
craft day


not pictured: throw cover crop seeds into garden. pick wilted-looking heirloom purple brussels sprouts. ride horse -- now a reformed citizen -- for the majority of the afternoon.

actually, I guess I don't have ANY pictures of saturday. sorry, blog.


run hot buttered run. vow not to go hard but discover I am not psychologically programmed to run a race without racing. start from the back of the pack, weave for two miles around everybody, get stuck behind a train for four minutes. in those four minutes, befriend a lady who has apparently been following me for the whole race and who's wearing the same shirt as me. we run together for another half mile or so before I motor away.

meet heather at sizzler for lunch.

sizzler charm.

sizzler was on her mighty life list. specifically, the unlimited shrimp they advertise was on her mighty life list. unfortunately in order to get the unlimited shrimp you had to get a steak, too. TRICKSY. it turned out OK because the shrimp wasn't really that great, and actually all you need is an unlimited taco bar and a soft serve machine. and fried chicken.

you guys. YOU GUYS. here is the best part of the weekend.

the cub

that is a tiger pillow. a latch hook tiger pillow. that heather made me. as a sizzler thank you. and also because she knows how much I like tigers.

I'm pretty sure it ties my entire living room together. for the record, the zebra print blanket is a snuggie and it was already on the chaise -- this is not a staged photo.

tiger cub says, come closer.
cub says, come closer



November 20, 2011

what I'm looking forward to

+ vegas with my sister: running a race neither of us have properly trained for, jumping on the beds at circus circus, drinking girly drinks at caesar's palace, and playing the slot machines at least once

+ riding my horse, who I am finally ready to return to after a pointedly long absence

+ breaking 20 minutes in the 5K. that is going to happen.

+ window shopping in NYC with tristan; also, potentially taking a long bus ride with tristan where we bring a bunch of stuff to keep us occupied but end up talking the whole time anyway

+ having beers with my high school french teacher

+ four days off at thanksgiving

+ eating unlimited shrimp at sizzler with heather UNLIMITED SHRIMP

+ christmas trees

+ getting holiday pedicures with the ladies

+ seeing my beautiful friend hannah hold her new baby, due in january

+ holding said baby myself OMG I can't wait

+ new running friends

+ cooking a personal-sized thanksgiving dinner on friday, because I'm headed to thanksgiving with a bunch of friends on thursday and while I'm thrilled to be with them I'm also sad not to be cooking the meal for the first time in 15 years

+ trying to win my age group in the turkey trot on thursday, so I can win a PIE

+ potentially trying to learn (at various levels) four languages simultaneously. yes. four. life is short.

last night, I dreamed I was tidying up in scott's place. he wasn't there, but was coming home. we weren't together anymore, but maybe I was trying to be. so much of it was like life: I like to tidy things. suddenly his mom was there; I opened the door and we hugged, simultaneously saying, "you look great!" in the way you do when it's been a long time since you've seen someone. there was some comfort in it.

later in the dream, scott came home; as dreams often go, he was just suddenly there and we were suddenly alone. he was moving to washington d.c., which I was trying to convince him he would hate. things between us were over. there wasn't sadness, but a dogged determination on my part. I think I was still cleaning.

I have a lot of things to say about this past week, but I don't know if I will ever say them. in the end -- I want to be clear that I say this resignedly, without bitterness or even grief -- I feel like scott betrayed and abandoned me, a person he continues to claim he loved up to the end. I still don't understand how he can reconcile loving me with his refusal to try and work things out, or even to speak to me. I think I will never understand it. but I have reached a place where I can see that it reflects back on him and not on me; I can finally say, I did all I could.

universe, I did all I could. I could not have tried harder. I learned from my mistakes -- mistakes which were small, might I add, and not egregious -- apologized, and tried to change. if I had been asked to, I would have waited for him forever.

it's his loss now. I say that emphatically, and I believe it. what a shame for him, truly, to have once loved someone who could, in the end, overlook her pain to try and be there for him, who would have loved him completely, and to have thrown that person away, without explanation. if you love someone, then you forgive them. if you love someone, then you work. love is a choice. end of story. I feel even sorrier for him that he believes he is right.

shiva is over. I want my fucking life back.

November 18, 2011

"what the living do," marie howe

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through

the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,

I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss—we want more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living. I remember you.

November 14, 2011

swan song

as of last night, it is all the way over between me and scott.

I believed that if only we could spend a little time together, as we have on a handful of occasions this last month or so, it would be apparent why we had fallen in love in the first place. but he threw in the towel long ago.

I talked to a friend today, one I haven't talked to in a long time, and he said, 'it seems like if you love someone, and that someone is committed to changing the thing that was wrong, well, then that should be enough.' I thought so too, but that's not how it came to pass. "I forgive you" is sometimes just lip service.

as has been apparent for some time, I've never suffered a heartbreak such as this in my life.

we had so many beautiful times, and so many hard times. I believed that we were at the very end of the hard times, about to push through again to joy. but I was the only one who believed it. I have continued to believe it these last long lonely months. I still believe it could have been possible. but I'm alone in my belief.

now we are through speaking to each other, and seeing each other.

I continue to experience tremendous disbelief that two simple words can change a life. it's over. despite all I have learned, on most days the thing I long for most is to rewind and take it back.

now, I keep saying to myself, I have to be a very brave girl. because just at the moment when I gave up my intense desire for independence, I'm going to need it back.

part of me wants to truly eulogize us; there are so many beautiful things to grieve. I may, or may not. for now, how I feel is this:


I love this person with all my heart. I have loved him more completely and faithfully, despite pain and heartbreak, than I have ever loved anyone in my life. and, though it pains me beyond words to say it, may his name be blotted out.

November 11, 2011

time does not bring relief; you all have lied
who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
the old snows melt from every mountain-side,
and last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
but last year’s bitter loving must remain
heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
there are a hundred places where I fear
to go,—so with his memory they brim.
and entering with relief some quiet place
where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “there is no memory of him here!”
and so stand stricken, so remembering him.

-- edna st. vincent millay

tonight in the car I burst into tears, trying and failing to remember the very last time he said, "I love you."

my one-time stint as a professional nike runner

sunrise over the track

this morning, I arrived at portland meadows at 6:50 for the 7 AM nike video shoot call. as I mentioned the other day, I answered an ad, posted by one of the local running stores, calling for women who could pass as elite high school cross country runners. the video is a promo for the nike cross nationals; it will air on the internet only (because the nationals are also only viewable online). thirty women were picked from last week's photo shoot/audition.

this whole thing was so totally surreal. I have no aspirations to be a model or actor, but I am a sucker for anything that seems like an adventure or that will make a good story. it was a kick in the pants to tell people, "oh, I won't be in the office tomorrow, I'll be doing a nike video shoot all day." how fun to get to be the talent.

yup, that's me

the girls all arrived, checked in, filled out tax paperwork, and got our clothes for the shoot: a high school cross country uniform (from three local high schools), a pair of socks, and a new pair of nike xc victory race spikes.

race spikes!
the shoes

we hung out for awhile inside the clubhouse, everyone in sweats and jackets. the agency that cast us had stressed again and again the importance of bringing tons of warm clothes, so everyone was bundled up and many girls had blankets. (I brought a zebra print snuggie).

inside the clubhouse. so many monitors!
ladies in waiting

when we finally headed over to the track, it was about 7:45. it was still super cold, but thankfully sunny. THANK YOU PORTLAND, SERIOUSLY. the jog across the long expanse of infield was our first of SO MUCH RUNNING SWEET JESUS


of course, we'd all been prepped that there would be a lot of running. one of the fields on the audition form even asked what our weekly mileage was. for good reason, it turned out.

we filmed in four race "locations," each a different spot along the "course." (the real nike cross nationals are weeks away, so the course hasn't actually been set up yet). the gag in the video is this: a commentator is at a desk in the middle of the course, trying to talk about the race but continuously being interrupted by the pack of girls racing. so for about 60% of the time, our runs were focused on swerving around him at his desk (or variations on that theme). our first location was a curve on the course, maybe about 50 yards long. we began running at 8:15 or so and didn't move from that spot until about 10 AM; we probably did 25 takes just running the curve. and all the running, all day, was fast. after all -- this is nationals. five minute miles. essentially: sprinting.

since it wasn't rainy, the course wasn't nearly as muddy as it would ordinarily be, so in between takes members of the crew would go over to a corner of the infield with a shovel and some buckets, dig up a bunch of mud, wheel it over in a wheelbarrow, and ask us to slather it all over our shoes and legs. this proved surprisingly difficult, because the shoes essentially REFUSED to stay dirty, and our legs dried quickly, turning the mud to powder.

also, these were the shoes we were going to take home, so everybody was a little reluctant to get them dirty!

our second take was in the series of hills built into the infield, which I happened to encounter earlier this season in the first of the red lizard cross country races, held on the nike pre-nationals course. the hills are essentially a series of four or five moguls. quick up, quick down. funny the first time I encountered them in the course, but way harder the second time.

we spent almost three hours on them.

then: lunch.

then YOU GUYS. the shot we worked on after lunch was on a straightaway in the middle of the infield, and we were joined by andrew wheating, an olympic 800m runner who's currently a nike athlete. I did not know that "run with an olympian" was on my bucket list, but: CHECK. (I was trying to also check off "pass an Olympian in a run" but that dude is fast, y'all). here is my stealth shot of him (the very tall person in the red coat).

stealth shot of Andrew Wheating

he was a hoot. he was an "interviewer" running along with us, and he kept accidentally inserting lines like, "oh, cool," into his script. meanwhile, our pack of girls had been cut in half, since only a few runners would even show up in the shot. those of us who were running probably did 10 takes with andrew, running up and down a stretch of about 100 meters. we kept joking about alternative things we could do (he could talk in an accent, he could throw in a catch phrase like ron burgundy, etc) and so the crew let us do an 'outtake' clip, where andrew pushed a bunch of us out of the way and chased one runner the length of the course, eventually shoving her (not hard) into the course markers. we made it about 3/4 of the way through the take before we all burst out laughing.

(the ladies in a moment of down time prior to the shoot at location #3)

our last location of the day was "the mud pit." the crew had spent the morning running a hose in one corner of the infield, so that by the time we got there, the ensuing puddle was ankle deep. it was 3:15; the sun was going down and we were all getting cold again. we smeared ourselves again with mud, which turned out to be hilariously pointless, since the moment we ran our first take through the puddle, we were all saturated. meanwhile, the crew set up propane heaters so that we didn't freeze to death. everyone's feet were killing them from 8 hours spent running in spikes; most of us were stiff and cold and tired. we did another 15 or 20 takes in the mudpit before we finally called it a day. I took a shower when I got home and I STILL have mud in my hair. (which is super classy because I'm at the opera now).

the girls, all in matching shoes

overall, it was a super fun day, but we were all SO GLAD when it ended. a few hours later, I am walking with some difficulty; mainly my feet hurt, but I'm also just generally tweaky and incredibly, unbelievably tired. like, I was standing backstage waiting for my ratchet cues for figaro and I really thought, my legs might give out. eight hours is a long time to do sprints. I cannot wait to go to bed.

November 9, 2011

"of you," norman maccaig

When the little devil, panic,
begins to grin and jump about
in my heart, in my brain, in my muscles,
I am shown the path I had lost
in the mountainy mist.

I'm writing of you.

When the pain that will kill me
is about to be unbearable,
a cool hand
puts a tablet on my tongue and the pain
dwindles away and vanishes.

I'm writing of you.

There are fires to be suffered,
the blaze of cruelty, the smoulder
of inextinguishable longing, even
the gentle candleflame of peace
that burns too.

I suffer them. I survive.

I'm writing of you.

November 5, 2011

okay, okay.

the horse
is double leased, beginning november 15. one of her new riders is my age, with a few years of hunter/jumper experience. the other is a 14-year-old girl in the barn's 4H club, who got bucked off in her very first ride -- the first time Cookie has managed to unseat anyone in 3 years. I'm actually glad about that fall, because it gave me confidence that the girl knew my horse at her worst and still liked her.

being double leased means that Cookie officially is paying her own bills. I'm not 100% confident that the first girl will stick with her (she expressed a concern that she might be overhorsed), but it is certainly nice for the time being. as good as the financial aspect is the fact that my horse will finally get worked enough and I won't have to say a silent benediction over the saddle every time I get on.

the opera
although it hasn't officially been announced yet, two weeks ago I effectively absorbed into my duties a part-time job that was available in my department. the job was mostly what was reallocated a few years back in the great reshuffle; probably 70% of the duties are things I used to do. the increase in responsibility comes, of course, with a healthy increase in my salary, and for the first time in several years I actually don't feel terror when I think about money. between 2005 and this year I took a nearly $10K pay cut -- this is something I hadn't realized up until I was negotiating the new salary. it made me feel better to realize how little I was making. it turns out the reason it's felt like I did't have any money was because I didn't.

social media
I quit facebook. so, that's a thing.

also a thing
I'm going to spend all day next thursday modeling/running for a nike video shoot. this is because on a whim, I answered the ad, posted by a local running store, which called for women who looked like elite high school cross country runners.

it's national blog posting month. a post a day, all november. I thought about doing it, but then I felt intensely resistant to even existing on the internet at all. so, I didn't.

the garden
yeah, I should probably go over there. I'm pretty sure I'm about to get in trouble for not cleaning up my plot -- all my tomato cages, stakes, poles, etc are all still there. I have bulbs to plant. and I have to check on the aphid situation (I mixed up a concoction a few weeks ago and sprayed the everloving crap out of the brussels sprouts). I'm mostly just glad to put the thing to bed. there are still tomatoes ripening on my kitchen windowsill.

I'm going to own it. that's how low my weight got as a result of heartbreak and stress. I hit that number just three weeks ago. the last time the scale said that, I was 14 years old.

I lost my boobs. it makes me sad.

I promise I am now eating again. I made some peanut soup last week. it was delicious. on my last day off from work, I bundled up (it's winter here now, apparently) and went over to the ramen truck, where I got a giant bowl of ramen with all sorts of delicious things in it, brought it home, and ate it watching the last episode of my princess, the latest korean drama I've found myself glued to.

korean tv
I don't know what it is about it. there have been days when korean tv shows were what kept me going. that is not an exaggeration.

wrong mileage
I ran into a runner friend on this morning's run, and I'm still sad that I had to turn around before we had a chance to catch up -- she was running 10, I was running 7.

the strip
my sister and I are running the las vegas rock & roll half marathon in december. we got comped entries from the running blog. we are really excited. costumes will be involved.

the silver lining
my sister and I have both been having hard times personally, but as a result are closer than we've ever been. do you know how hard it is to meet your sister when you're already a grownup? no matter how hard you want to be close, it still just takes time.

the hard stuff
continues to be hard. I honestly don't even know what else to say about it.

November 3, 2011

opening night eve

a decent summary of what I've been up to at the theater lately is now up over on the opera blog.

November 1, 2011

my favorite music in figaro is only forty seconds long, from 0:25 to 1:00. I can't hear it without getting goosebumps.

the tiny, sweet scene in act iv that I mentioned the other day (if you watch straight through you will also see rosina forgive the count):

even though all of us are exhausted, figaro is too beautiful, too sweet, and too true not to love.

and yes, if it looks like I am consciously avoiding the mention of anything regarding my life, it's because I am. craving intense solitude and privacy; trying to nurse stubborn wounds. it isn't forever, but for now writing and memory are too closely tied, and I am trying hard to forget.